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Facebook commits $20 mn to fight COVID-19

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SAN FRANCISCO:

As the world grapples with the novel coronavirus, Facebook has committed $20 million in donations to fight the disease.

The social networking giant worked with the United Nations Foundation and the World Health Organization to start a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, where anyone can go to make a donation.

“Facebook is matching up to $10 million in donations, and 100% of funds will directly support the work to prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak around the world,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on the social media platform on Friday.

“We’ll also match $10 million for the CDC Foundation, which will launch a fundraiser in the next few weeks focused on combating the outbreak here in the US,” he added.

Facebook said on Friday that it is committing to match $20 million in donations, a fraction of its quarterly profit, to support global relief efforts for COVID-19 coronavirus.

Mark Zuckerberg, the social juggernaut’s chief executive, said Facebook was committing $10 million for the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and an additional $10 million for the CDC Foundation, which will launch its Facebook Fundraiser in the coming weeks.

According to a report in TechCrunch, Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing on Friday announced a $10 million special relief fund for drivers and couriers in its international markets.

Among other tech giants, Microsoft and Amazon this week committed $1 million each to COVID-19 Response Fund.

To support COVID-19 relief efforts, Google.org and Google employees have donated more than $1 million.

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Modi hands over social media accounts to mark Women’s Day

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NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave prominent women control of his social media accounts on Sunday to mark International Women’s Day in a move critics dismissed as a publicity stunt.

A disability activist and a water campaigner were among the women who tweeted from Modi’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts where he has tens of millions of followers.

Their posts attracted thousands of likes and drew many positive responses across the platforms.

But some rights activists said Modi’s government should instead focus on reducing high levels of sexual violence and economic disadvantages faced by women in the largely conservative and patriarchal society.

“It is an attention-seeking move because you can’t answer what is happening in the country,” Shabnam Hashmi told the Press Trust of India.

“Women have become much worse off than what they were six years ago (when Modi came to power).”

Modi — one of the world’s most-followed politicians on social media — said Monday he was thinking of going offline before revealing his plan to “give away” his accounts to inspirational women.

“This will help them ignite motivation in millions,” he tweeted, calling for people to share stories with the hashtag #SheInspiresUs.

But young climate activist Licypriya Kangujam, who was tagged in a tweet from a government account, replied she did not want to be celebrated.

“Dear @narendramodi Ji, Please don’t celebrate me if you are not going to listen my voice,” she said Friday.

Violence against women in India has been in the spotlight since the brutal gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student on a bus in 2012.

Nearly 34,000 rapes were reported in 2018, according to official data, with activists claiming the figure is just the tip of the iceberg.

— Agence France-Presse

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Twitter Introduces ‘Continue Thread’ Option to Make Connecting Tweets Easier

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Twitter has announced a new feature that will help users dig through their tweets faster to update an older post with an update. The feature called ‘Continue Thread’ that makes it easier to connect an in-progress tweet to an earlier post.

Here’s how to use Continue Thread option on Twitter.com

  • Compose your tweet and then pull down to view older tweets.
  • Select the tweet you would like the new one to be added to. Your tweets are now connected.
  • You will just have to pull down to see earlier tweets and tap the “continue thread” or ellipsis button to find an older tweet to reply to.
  • Essentially, this is a new way to create topic threads and tweetstorms.

The micro-blogging platform has in the past allowed users to connect multiple tweets together while composing them but the new feature makes it faster to connect a new tweet to an old post.

Twitter has also acquired California-based Chroma Labs that develops tools for short-form video and photo creation.

It will help users fill in stylish layout templates and frames for posting collages and more.

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Facebook cancels Global Marketing Summit over Coronavirus fears

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The event was scheduled from March 9-12 in San Francisco, with over 5,000 participants expected from across the globe, according to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle

After the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2020 conference, Coronavirus has derailed Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco.

According to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle, the event was scheduled from March 9-12 here, with over 5,000 participants expected from across the globe.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we cancelled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report late on Friday.

Facebook is committed to holding the event in San Francisco in the future,” the company added.

On Thursday, the organiser of the world’s biggest phone show ‘Mobile World Congress’ 2020 cancelled the annual event in Barcelona in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus fears, which saw several top exhibitors and tech companies pulling out of the event.

Other events postponed or cancelled include Chinese Grand Prix, the Black Hat information security conference’s Asia summit; London Metal Exchange’s annual Asian gathering in Hong Kong and Art Basel’s annual art fair in Hong Kong, among others.

The novel coronavirus that originated in the Wuhan area of China in December 2019 has spread to over 25 countries, raising safety concerns and impacting businesses in many parts of the world.

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